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7 Steps to “Scent-Free” Hunting

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We all know a whitetail’s sense of smell is a force that’s difficult to beat. To an olfactory offense so strong it’s likely impossible to be “totally” scent free. However, it’s a proven fact that it is possible to reduce our odors to minuscule, trace levels that even mature bucks will tolerate in close quarters. Are you doing enough to reduce these foreign odors so you can get closer to whitetails? Do you stink to a deer? Follow these steps to get closer to whitetails.

  1. Wash your clothes in a quality hunter’s detergent. Besides our body, we need to be concerned with everything else we’re bringing into the woods, our clothes being one of the most important. 
  2. Dry your clothes outside if possible. If you can’t, remove all fabric softener bars and dry your clothes in the dryer. Before storing them, let them air-out outside if possible. 
  3. Once your clothes are dry, store them in a container so no odors have the possibility of infusing into them - some plain garbage bags will do, rubber or plastic storage containers work well, or some make garment bags specifically for this task. Make sure the clothes are totally dry! If there is any moisture in them, once sealed in the container you begin a chemical reaction and odors will arise. This is the same reason it is best NOT to include leaves, dirt, pine boughs, or other natural items in the container with your clothes. Even with our “limited human sense of smell,” after one week in the container the difference in the aroma of fresh pine boughs and the stench from the ones in your container is obvious. If you must put something in the container, fill a sock with 1/3 of a cup of baking soda and place it in the container – switch it out every few weeks. 
  4. Shower in Scent Killer Body Wash & Shampoo and use un-scented deodorant. In nearly all regions of the whitetails’ territory, L-Serine (human scent) is their most feared odor. Reducing these smells by showering is extremely important. Brush your teeth! Yes, most toothpaste has a minty odor, but this is better than the bad breath of a human carnivore. 
  5. Don’t put your clothes on until you get to your hunting area. In fact, don’t even remove them from their protective container. It’s amazing how many hunters put on their hunting boots at home and then stop to fill up with gas, or put on their hunting clothes and stop at a café for breakfast…then they try to fool a nose 1,000 times more sophisticated than theirs.
  6. Use a quality scent elimination spray like Scent Killer Gold. Spray your clothing the day before and allow the spray to dry into your clothing and then return your clothes to their container. Scent Killer Spray molecules adhere to odor molecules making them too heavy to form a gas. Spray down each layer of your clothing, concentrating on your high sweat areas. 
  7. Pay close attention to “scent-transfer.” We have taken care of the greater share of smells we may carry into the woods on us, but what about the smells we may be leaving behind. Every time you touch an object it’s like you’re pushing your scent into it. How strong the smell will be and how long it will linger will depend on temperatures, humidity and numerous other factors. But why let them know you’re coming? Wear rubber-bottomed boots and don’t touch anything with your bare hands. Pay attention and be sneaky. 

This tip is courtesy of the GameKeepers Field Notes, a weekly wildlife and land management email newsletter produced by the Mossy Oak GameKeepers.

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A GameKeeper by definition is someone who truly loves AND lives the land, the critters and nature…not just during hunting season but all the time. A GameKeeper wants to be outdoors every day and work the dirt while living their personal “obsession”.

 

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